C'wealth Games: The gift of a dream

C'wealth Games: The gift of a dream
Swimmer Joseph Schooling at the men's 100m butterfly event at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland on 27 July 2014.

It was not elation, or a sense of vindication after all the sacrifices made, that overcame Colin Schooling as he watched his son Joseph touch the wall in the 100m butterfly final at the Commonwealth Games yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Joseph made history when he touched home in second place, bagging the silver medal to become the first Singaporean swimmer to win a medal at a Commonwealth Games.

The 19-year-old clocked 51.69sec - a national record - and was just a four tenths of a second slower than South African winner Chad le Clos.

While the enormity of the occasion did not elude dad, it just wasn't the factor that made the most impact as he watched on TV.

"Relief, that's all I felt," Colin told The New Paper yesterday.

"There's a crazy amount of pressure mounted on him and that fell back on us.

"At times, it made me very agitated to the point of being angry.

"Because people don't understand the situations he was facing and the fact that he's also aware of the nation's expectations - and all this in addition to competing at this level," added Colin, who insists his son's biggest achievement lay beyond the history books.

"The most important thing in what Joe has done is not that he's made history, but that he's given all athletes in Singapore a belief that nothing is far-fetched. It's just about how badly you want it - and I hope they all dare to dream."

The Schooling family's journey does not end at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre - it cannot.

"I'm happy that he's moved beyond the South-east Asia Games level, and now has proven himself at the Commonwealth Games - he is now the fourth fastest in the world (this year) and the fastest in Asia (in the 100m butterfly)," said Colin.

"But no, we are not vindicated, and we won't be until he gets on that podium at the Rio Olympics in two years.

"All this is just part of that journey."

The Schoolings did not travel to Glasgow to witness their son's moment in the sun, but instead left late last night for the United States for the next step in the Olympic mission, a scene that is set in Texas.

Joseph is enrolled in the University of Texas, where he will start his undergraduate studies under the watchful gaze of Eddie Reese of the US Olympic team.

It will be an environment that Colin believes will be good for his son.

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